Pupils at Pennington school Our Lady and St Joseph call for action to slow traffic on busy Ramley Road
YOUNG campaigners are calling for action to drive down speed on a busy road outside a school in Pennington where a child was almost hit.
Pupils, parents and teachers at Our Lady and St Joseph Catholic Primary School are urging Hampshire County Council to slow traffic on Ramley Road, ahead of classes restarting next week after the Christmas break.
They want Lymington and Pennington Town Council to support their campaign too by purchasing a flashing sign to alert motorists they are approaching a school.
As part of a recent Road Safety Day project, pupils created their own ‘20 is Plenty’ artwork, which has been turned into a banner outside.
Ramley Road has a 40mph limit on its northern end which slows to 30mph either side of the school.
However, Our Lady and St Joseph executive head teacher Gerida Montague said: “Passing cars regularly exceed 40mph outside the school.
“Many parents do not allow their children to walk to school, due to the precarious speeds which greatly hinder children’s ability to cross.
“The safety of our children and community is of paramount importance to us. This is an extremely concerning issue to our families and local residents.
“We are very concerned that there may be an accident should action not be taken. Ramley Road is extremely busy at drop-off and pick-up times.”
Last year, the school reported a near-miss when a pupil tried to cross between parked cars and a vehicle came past at speed.
Pupils have written to New Forest West MP Sir Desmond Swayne about their concerns, adding that they feel unsafe to walk to school or cross the busy road.
They also recorded a video for HCC to show the speeds of some vehicles passing their school.
Staff have contacted the town council to ask for help installing a flashing ‘slow down’ sign, and have urged residents to write as well.
They have also been working with the charity 20’s Plenty For Us to raise awareness.
Cllr Barry Dunning, who represents the town on the county council, told the A&T he had been contacted by the school around six months ago and passed the matter on to Cllr Rob Humby, HCC’s cabinet member for economy, transport and environment.
Cllr Dunning added: “I am right behind the school’s campaign and I agree that certainly something needs to be done to slow the traffic.
“Unfortunately, that stretch of road is quite notorious and it is often local motorists who are speeding because they know the area well.
“There are a number of ways we could look at slowing traffic – perhaps with flashing electric warning signs.
“I would ask the school to contact me again so that we can look for solution in the new year.”
Lymington town clerk Louise Young said the authority had not replied to requests for help from the school but that HCC was working with it to develop a plan to slow down traffic.
She added: “If for any reason those discussions do not progress, the town council would be happy to look at ways of supporting them in their campaign.”
Ms Montague said: “Slowing speeds on this stretch of road to alert drivers that there is a school nearby would greatly reduce the risk to our pupils and families.
“We hope that the local council and community will engage with us in relation to this matter, which is of great importance to our school community.”